The futon’s fabric was bare; the stuffing was shot
through with collapse from our sitting lap-stacked
in the center. One hundred feature lengths left us
engaged and rump-touching the floor. We loved
our Gordian tangle of limbs, resisted surrendering
those warm apartment dawns ensconced, squared,
until we grudgingly gave the bed its dumpster death.
French windows greeted the headboard. They overlooked
a cul-de-sac majestic in the Disco Age, now dismayed—
like us between posts—by Spanish façades. We rolled
apart-together-apart but always ready with a touch
of young embarrassment—our rings were fresh. We bounced
on comforters we could finally afford and promised
no more ramen, no more chips, no more habitual stains.
Pillow-topped and corner-cropped with layers
of bouncy foam, it was my parents’ bequest—
a seven-years-later wedding gift that slid from their best
guest room into our evolving retreat on wheels
of hints and hopes. Crib-flushed, the upgrade crowded
with its footage, larger than its container . . . like the queen
who dwarfed her island or my wife in her motherly flush.
The hotel went under, so we went in; we bargained
in a mattress morgue—three dozen slabs sans sleepers
sans ticking sans ’steads. Just white and dead. Waiting.
Bungeed to the van’s roof, cocooning plastic billowed and lifted us
higher on the highway. The folded pallet cut ruts in the walls,
toppled years of prideful kitsch, and sent toddlers howling;
but in the master, it spread and spilled like all our lives at rest at last.
Published on the Ancient Paths Facebook page on July 27, 2019
2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee